Small Changes in Your Talent Acquisition and Onboarding Process Can Transform Team Performance.


Like me, you might be tuning in to the Winter Olympics over the next few weeks.  We thrive on the excellence and personalities of the athletes.  We love the tradition and the competition on display.  We celebrate victories with pride, and empathize with the “agony of defeat.” And we are especially drawn to the stories. Stories of brilliance. Stories of hard work.  And stories of leaders who help take their teams to the next level.

When Eben Harrell interviewed cyclist Sir Dave Brailsford of the UK cycling team for Harvard Business Review, he learned that Sir Dave “applied a theory of marginal gains to cycling – he gambled that if the team broke down everything they could think of that goes into competing on a bike, and then improved each element by 1%, they would achieve a significant aggregated increase in performance.”

Sir Dave was right.  Harrell reports, “At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his squad won seven out of 10 gold medals available in track cycling, and they matched the achievement at the London Olympics four years later.”  By the way, Sir Dave is still improving. As principal of British professional Team Sky, he oversaw victories in 5 out of the last 6 Tours de France.

We often think it takes a huge effort or massive program to improve performance in our businesses. But in fact, small changes that produce consistent marginal gains can be transformative over time.  In Japanese, this business theory is kaizen, and has been called the key to Japan’s competitive success.

How can you apply this theory of continuous improvement to your talent assessment and development process?

Think through the next twelve months and plan small steps of continuous improvement.  You might include steps like these:

What are you doing to make sure job candidates are well suited for the position?

  • Review and update the position description.
  • Implement a structured interview.
  • Add pre-employment testing to your process.

What are you doing to improve your onboarding and training program?

  • Survey employees about current onboarding and training effectiveness.
  • Update materials for one class.
  • Provide interactive practice.

How can your coaching program be improved?

  • Include employees in goal setting.
  • Assess current performance levels.
  • Focus on employee strengths to boost goal achievement.

Are you regularly evaluating employees in a meaningful way?

  • Be clear about goals and the feedback process.
  • Ensure feedback is prompt, specific and sincere.
  • Make a plan to celebrate improvements.

Whatever steps you decide to take, make the changes regular, continuous – and remember to measure results to make sure they are leading to improvement.

If even small changes seem overwhelming, Employment Technologies can help you plan action steps that can take your team to the next level.  Give Jane a call at 888.332.0648.  There’s absolutely no obligation.


Ongoing Coaching in the Workplace Makes Sense

Kaizen: the Key to Japan’s Competitive Success